Al Jazeera urges Germany to release its journalist

Doha, June 21 (IANS) Al Jazeera has urged Germany to immediately release its journalist Ahmed Mansour, detained at a Berlin airport on the request of the Egyptian authorities.

Mansour, the senior Al Jazeera Arabic TV journalist, was detained at Berlin’s Tegel airport on Saturday while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight from Berlin to Doha.

In a phone call, Mansour told Al Jazeera that he would remain in custody until Monday when he would face a German judge who would decide on his case.

Mansour was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison by Cairo’s criminal court in 2014 on the charge of torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011. He has denied the charges.

In October 2014, Interpol rejected Egypt’s request for an international arrest warrant against him.

“The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well-known. Our network, as the Arab world’s most-watched, has taken the brunt of this,” acting director general of Al Jazeera network Mostefa Souag said.

“Other countries must not allow themselves to be tools of this media oppression, least of all those that respect freedom of the media as does Germany.”

“Ahmed Mansour is one of the Arab world’s most respected journalists and must be released immediately,” Souag added.

Describing his client’s arrest as politically motivated, Mansour’s lawyer Saad Djebbar said: “This is a ploy to terrorise Al Jazeera journalists and paralyse Al Jazeera from doing its work.”

Three Al Jazeera English journalists were wrongly accused of colluding with the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Doha-based state funded broadcaster reported.

Peter Greste was released in February without charge after 300 days in detention, while two of his colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, face a retrial.

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